The Next Stage

(I wrote this in the fall of 2015)  As summer transfers into fall and, before long, winter, I see the same going on in my own life.  Winter isn’t here yet, but clearly it is coming.  I can tell that, too – I don’t have the energy, resilience, memory or motivation I had before. Physically I’m doing OK but things are changing.  As I transition out of pastoring, and as I go through 35 years worth of sermons, memories and stuff stored at the church, I find myself looking back at the past.  I have lots of good memories, but also things I would have done differently as well.

As I turn toward the next stage in my life I also look back at the stage just over, for where I am going is greatly influenced by where I’ve been.  I’m glad I don’t have more regrets than I do.  Life is precious.  Time is valuable.  We only get to live once and only have one life to live.  Seldom does life turn out like we expected it would.  In achievements and what the world calls ‘success’ we may feel we fall short of our goal.  But what really matters is the real, inner us, the part the Lord blesses and prospers when we let Him.  That is what really matters, for it is all we can take with us anyway.

Despite everyone always telling me how fast the years would go, I must say that I am still surprised at how quickly they came and went.  Of course that is in hindsight.  My memories are good ones.  God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve or could even imagine.  The richness of His grace is truly amazing.

As I look at it all I wish I would have spent more time with God – in prayer, Bible reading, etc.  I also wish I would have spent more time with my wife and family.  I wish I could have been a better husband and father.  And I wish the Eagles could have won the Super Bowl at least once – but we can’t get everything we want, can we?

I am glad I kept growing in knowledge and application of the Bible.  I’m glad I took care of my health.  I’m glad I took time to keep in touch with old friends and develop new ones.  I’m glad I had the privilege of being involved in my children’s lives through home schooling.  I’m glad I had a front row seat in watching God change the lives of people around me.  And I’m glad I stayed in one place and one church all these years.  Mostly I’m glad God isn’t done with me yet.  I’m glad I will always be able to say, even on my dying day, that the best is yet to come!  (Doylestown, PA  March 21, 2016)

Job 32:7  I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.’

Isaiah 46:4 Even to your old age and gray hairs  I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you;  I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

I Chronicles 29:28  David  died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honor. His son Solomon succeeded him as king.

How would you evaluate your life up to this stage?  As long as you are alive it isn’t too late to change.  What can you start (or stop) doing today so that years from now you will be able to look back with greater satisfaction?  Ask God to help you make the very best use you can of the time He has given you.

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